WORKING WITH PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
I started working with people with disabilities clear back in 2006 when I went to college and I fell in love. I was a manager at a residential program for adults with disabilities. I was over a home with three individuals and in charge of their 24-7 care including, staff, their house, everything. When I realized how much joy working with these people brought me, I knew this is what I wanted to do for "work".
In the summer of 2007, I worked at a summer camp for people with disabilities called Camp Kostopulos in Salt Lake City, Utah. A summer I often think about and one I'll never forget. We worked so hard from sun up to sun down Monday through Friday. Some nights spent on the floor in front of the door in the cabin with the campers, to make sure everyone was safe. I learned so much that summer. We had campers from all over the United States, all ages and all disabilities.
I'll never forget taking a van full of campers to Jackson Hole, going white water rafting, sleeping under the stars, going on hikes. I'll never forget how a camper loved trucks, yelled Donald Duck, and made me laugh and laugh and laugh, and brought me so much joy.
Here is a little video I put together after that summer. I treasure these memories, the people I met, and the lessons I learned.
Then in 2014 I started my dream job and became a mom to a beautiful baby boy. I had quite the transition to motherhood but it was the job I wanted so badly and I was ready for it. I loved everything about being pregnant (besides the morning sickness), the birth, the entire experience was incredible. But I soon missed my other passion and working.
Growing up I always dreamed of being a stay-at-home mom. That's what I was going to do. I thought maybe I'd work after having kids, while they were in school, etc.
Just this past year I realized I'm a working mom.
After my son was born I sold skincare, children's books, put together a few vendor events, and sold non-toxic products. I thought I was a stay-at-home mom until I was asked to write a blog post for a working women Instagram, Livlyhood, that I realized, I do work. (Here's that blog post if you want to read it) I'm a work-from-home mom. Seems silly as I write this that I seriously didn't consider myself a working mom. I was a stay-at-home mom. Having this mind shift and realization has helped me step into both roles with more intention.
Work doesn't have to be going to an office 9-5 every day. I don't know why I didn't think of myself as a working mom. Just because I didn't take my kids to daycare and go to an office every day didn't mean that I didn't work. I did work, it was just from home, doing my own thing. We all know mom's WORK, kids, laundry, dishes, picking up 24-7, but I mean other "work".
Every single "job" or "work" that I've done has led me to where I am now. I've been trying to find my thing, my passion, my career, in a sense and I've finally found it.
Jack's Play Cafe combines ALL of my passions into one and I couldn't be more grateful. Business, people with disabilities, inclusion, self-directed, imaginative play.
I've worked 14 years to get to where I'm at now. I've worked 14 years to build and open this business. I can't wait to see what the future holds for Jack's Play Cafe. The world will be different because of this place. The world will be more accepting, more understanding, and more inclusive.
We're going to change the world together.
Thank you for reading!